Feb 15, 2012
On corruption in the Walker administration
The answer is secrecy and the GOP objectives of public inattention and distraction.
In September 2011, the MJS reports: "By far the biggest beneficiary of a move earlier this year to turn three dozen civil service jobs into political appointments is Cindy Archer, the one-time top aide to Gov. Scott Walker whose house was raided by the FBI last week." (Patrick Marley)
Yesterday, Marley reports that: "The head of a state agency late last year gave a political appointment - and a nearly $27,000 annual raise - to the wife of a Republican Party official without considering any other applicants, state records show." (Marley)
Another day in Scott Walker's regime.
As Republicans demonize teachers, fire department personnel and public workers generally, they plot against good government and the rule of law in Scott Walker's administration, in the Supreme Court, and in the legislature.
Corruption, an underground system of government, generally follows from a regime that sees the public as nuisance.
When Republicans ordered the removal and arrest of silent Wisconsin citizens holding and wearing the Bill of Rights from the Assembly gallery last year, GOP representatives scolded the gallery, saying the people of Wisconsin were "guests" of the Republican leaders.
At the time, I was surprised that this blatant disregard for even the idea of representative democracy did not get more play in the media.
That sense of entitlement, the idea that government is a tool for the Republicans' political benefit is at the heart of the recall movement.
We have the right to observe the politicians, to see if they are truly representing our best interests, to ensure they are protecting and defending the State and United States Constitutions, to evaluate them, and if necessary throw the bums out of office.
Republicans today disagree of course.
In another realm of public concern, as GOP officials fight to keep gerrymandering documents secret to further the election of more Republicans, they claim a legal shroud as a right inside of which the public has no business observing. Why are they trying to conduct the people's business under the cloak of attorney-client privilege—the people of Wisconsin are the client!
"Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity," wrote Lord Acton.
This idea of open government is one of the venerable traditions of representative democracy (in fact it's a necessity) and Wisconsin—until the Walker administration dropped its bombs with the imprimatur of the four GOP justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court—has led the nation in transparency, open meetings and records guarantees.
Why are Republicans so opposed to the idea of open government?
Because Acton was right. In public service, everything secret degenerates, including a once-proud political party that now governs hand-in-hand with corruption and an intimate co-conspirator—Fear.
Fear of 12-year-old girls in the Assembly gallery. Of the fabricated union thugs. Of the school teachers, and cooks in university dormitories.
Think of it. Without corruption (specifically Walker's allegiance to huge-moneyed interests and anti-democratic movements) and fear, what chance would Scott Walker have in Wisconsin?
To borrow from another great jurist, Robert H. Jackson, Town Meeting (1939): "Fear will cause a stampede among politicians just as it will among the nobler animals. The only cure for this is a steady and unfrightened public opinion strong enough and expressive enough to show that respect for civil rights is also good politics in America. We defend free speech and free press, not because we agree with those who need defense. Rather, it is because these fights are the very best protection of our system against violent or underground movements."
In a clean, fair election Scott Walker stands no chance, thus even voting is under attack.
Scott Walker will soon be on trial for past corruption, but his current dedication to anti-public movements will be on trial in the recall election, our power protecting us against this type of politician who believes he can get away with it.